Philly judge again finds Bevilacqua competent

Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua listens to a reporter's question as St. Louis Archbishop Justin F. Rigali, right listens at a news conference in Philadelphia Tuesday July 15, 2003. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

January 30, 2012 12:28:41 PM PST
A Philadelphia judge has again ruled that a retired Roman Catholic cardinal with dementia is competent and could become a trial witness.

Lawyers for Monsignor William Lynn say 88-year-old Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua no longer recognizes his longtime aide, Lynn. They say Bevilacqua remembers little if anything about his 10 appearances before a grand jury in 2003 and 2004.

Lynn is the former secretary for clergy. He awaits trial on charges he endangered children and conspired with others to keep accused pedophiles in ministry.

Defense lawyers argue that he took orders from Bevilacqua. But they say the cardinal's failing memory deprives them of meaningful cross-examination.

Monday's ruling means prosecutors can use Bevilacqua's recent videotaped deposition at the March trial.

Defense lawyers say they may call Bevilacqua to court if so.